Crowns are an integral part of a monarchy. Honor, respect, prestige, and royalty are all displayed by the wearing of a regal headpiece. Different styles, colors, and materials can often depict different levels and styles of reign, as well as the style of the times. Over the years, they have become more valued in a monarchy, especially the British Monarchy. Crowns did not always look like they do today, for many changes in styles and design have occurred throughout history. A leader in this design was Queen Victoria of England. She wore many beautiful crowns during her extensive reign, and this inspired the present day value of crowns inside the British Monarchy.
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Differing from a diadem, this crown was larger and sat on top of the head, rather than resting down low on the forehead. By the 15th century, the crown’s design was enhanced with arches crossing the center, often meeting in the middle with a ball and cross as a sign of royalty and connection to the church. By the 17th century, design had the arches to begin at the top of the ornaments instead of on the circlet itself. This change led to a new shape differentiation in English crowns, where royal and imperial figures had a depression in the center of their crowns to allow them to be distinctive from other crowns.
As crown design progressed, many European crowns began to be made in sections and were hinged together by long pins. This allowed for easy transport and assembly, and also made it easy to place on a monarch’s head. Queen Victoria had a significant influence in the development of this design. Because of her larger head and a wish for a smaller crown, her circlet had hinged sections that could be easily opened and closed to make it easier to wear. Her crown could not be fully disassembled, but due to its small size, transportation and cleaning was still a relatively simple task.
Alexandria Victoria, most commonly known as Queen Victoria, was born May of 1819, last in the line of the House of Hanover. She was crowned very young, at age 18. In Hanover, Salic law prevented succession by a woman, so Victoria became queen only in Great Britain, which then separated from Hanover because of her coronation. This defined her reign to be queen of the UK from 1837-1901, and empress of India from 1876-1901. Although Queen Victoria was married to Prince Consort Albert and had 9 children, she greatly disliked children and being a mother. This clashed with the societal values of family and motherhood of the time.
When she was 10 years old she learned her first lesson of her future role in royalty. She declared that as a queen, “I will be good”. It was this combination of “earnestness and egotism” that “marked Victoria as a child of the age that bears her name” (Britannica, 2). Her attitude on royalty only strengthened as time progressed, and as a queen she became determined to retain power. Queen Victoria had no interest in social issues, and, even during the industrial revolution, greatly resisted technological reforms. She made an effort to change the sovereign political power to a more ceremonial power, strictly to preserve the English monarchy. This attitude marked the end of the Victorian Age.
The coronation of Queen Victoria was an extravagant event. Over 4,000 individuals went to London to see the young queen be crowned in her uncle’s place. For this event, she wore her Imperial State Crown, which is a crown worn by a monarch at the end of coronation for the exit from Westminster Abbey. Queen Victoria’s specific crown for this event was created in 1838, “which became the basis for the present crown”, referring to the current Imperial State Crown...